Deckart Waldorf knows he’s not supposed to be swimming there, but he needs to get away. Sneaking onto the private beach seems like a good idea. His ex would never think to look for him there. After all, Deckart has always followed the letter of the law, in every area of his life. He’s never even had a parking ticket.
While snorkeling, Deckart spots what looks like the largest sea snail he’s ever seen. He figures it has to be almost five feet in diameter. Unable to help himself, he takes a closer look. Deckart swims around it and even touches the animal. After a few minutes, the beast reaches out to him, revealing tentacles that help it move swiftly, telling him it isn’t a snail.
Deckart has no idea what it is, but it doesn’t seem dangerous, joining him in playful acrobatics. When he tires and heads to shore, it follows…and turns into a man…a huge light-browned skinned man named Rawlins who claims they’re mates. Can Deckart come to grips with Rawlins’s nature before his ex tracks him down again?
Turning his Vespa onto the gravel road, Deckart Waldorf stopped before a locked gate. He peered around, including checking the road he’d just turned off of, searching for anyone. Finding himself alone, he took a slow deep breath, girding up his courage.
Then Deckart hit the throttle and eased to the left. As quickly as he could, he squeezed his scooter between the end of the gate and a large stone. He knew it was used to keep out trespassers—which was exactly what he was doing—trespassing.
Sweat broke out on Deckart’s skin as he returned his bike to the gravel on the other side of the gate. Once again, he paused to glance around the area. Still finding himself alone, he swallowed hard as he began to trundle forward.
It’s only for a few days. No one will think to look for me here, least of all my ex.
Deckart’s right wrist and arm still ached from his last run-in with Bart Louis. His ex-boyfriend had cornered him in the stairwell of the building where he worked. He’d grabbed his wrist in a hard grip, demanding to know why Deckart had broken up with him…via phone.
As if that had been hard to work out.
Deckart felt certain the steroids Bart had to be using to pump up his muscles for body-building competitions—although he’d denied ever touching the stuff when Deckart had asked, which was how their troubles had begun—must have addled his brain.
While Deckart had managed to yank his wrist away, earning a few scratches from Bart’s nails in the process, his ex had been too fast. He’d grabbed him again, squeezing his upper arm in a hold that was sure to bruise. Only the thud of the door on the landing above them and the appearance of Deckart’s boss had saved him.
Fortunately, Renaldo Martinez had taken one look at the situation and had figured out what was going on. “Ah, there you are, Deckart,” the man had stated. “Good. We need to hurry to get to the meeting on time.”
Bart had been forced to let Deckart leave with his boss. Renaldo had taken him to lunch, even though Deckart had just been returning from his break. His boss had asked if Deckart wanted to press charges, but he’d declined. After all, Bart hadn’t actually done anything.
And I don’t want him to get the chance, thus, hiding out for a while in order to find a new job.
Renaldo had agreed to the short leave of absence, and he’d assured Deckart that he would give him a glowing review.
That had led to Deckart’s decision to camp on a private beach…one with a locked gate offering seclusion. It was owned by World of Aquatica—a massive marine park a couple of miles to the south. He would have internet access and time away from everyone, allowing him to find a new job in another state.
Somewhere far away from Bart.
Plus, Deckart was a straight-shooter in every aspect of his life. He’d never even had a parking ticket. There was no way Bart would think to look for him trespassing on private property.
No matter how uncomfortable this makes me.
Deckart slowly drove down the gravel lane, keeping his eye out for anyone. While he had a story thought up if anyone caught him, he didn’t want to have to use it. Instead, he just wanted to get to the little secluded area he’d spotted on google maps—a little sandy beach with a cluster of trees for shelter, tucked between rocks and out of the weather.
Reaching the bottom of the gravel road, Deckart peered around quickly. He blew out a breath in relief when he didn’t spot anyone. Deckart pointed his Vespa toward the right, but the second his front tire hit the dry sand, he tilted.
Grimacing, Deckart stepped off his scooter. He righted his vehicle and began to push. By the time he made it fifty yards along the beach, Deckart was already panting heavily and sweat was dripping down his back. Groaning, he kept on pushing.
Deckart spotted the curve of rock and did his best to pick up the pace. He knew from a bit of research that the area he walked along would threaten to be covered at high tide. His timing had been so important to him.
Finally, the rocks gave way to a sprawling beach almost fifty yards across and thirty yards deep. At the top were trees for a number of feet before once again giving way to rocks. He heard birds chirping and insects buzzing.
Grinning, Deckart thought it was perfect.
With a few more grunts and plenty of spilled sweat, Deckart managed to push his Vespa amidst the trees. He un-bunjeed his couple of duffle bags and placed them on the ground. From the larger, he pulled out a small, single-person tent. Once he’d finished putting it up amidst the trees, Deckart cast about for stones to make a fire pit. After that was done, he reached his arms over his head and stretched.
The warm afternoon sun heated his already slicked skin, and the lapping of the waves drew his attention.
“Time for a swim,” Deckart mumbled. “God, that sounds good.”
With a grin, Deckart tugged his polo shirt over his head before draping it over a tree branch. Then he fished through the larger duffle again and pulled out a towel, which he spread on the beach for later. Finally, he tugged free a snorkel, mask, and flippers. Deckart set them aside before pulling out a harpoon gun, too. After a few seconds, he rested that against his scooter for later.
Deciding that, since his shorts were already filthy, Deckart skipped changing them. He toed off his hiking boots before yanking off his socks. Quickly, he donned his flippers, picked up the mask and snorkel, and headed for the oh-so-inviting water.